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Stopping Distances

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Stopping distances


        The aim of this experiment is to investigate the things that will affect the stopping distance of a toy car. I am investigating how the stopping distance of a car is related to the speed that it is going and how much force is used to stop a car going at a certain speed and for a certain distance.


● The landing surface (This would increase the rolling friction on the wheels of the car therefore slowing it down.

● Environment (If the air was warmer then the car would move slower because the air has more energy causing the car to slow down.)

● The gradient of the slope (changing the height of the ramp giving more energy to the car so it speeds up)

● The weight of the vehicle (The mass will be greater so the car will gain more weight as gravity will be acting upon it.)

● The size and the shape of the car (This would effect the aerodynamic. The smaller the car, the more streamlined it is and the less drag it will have and the bigger the car the more drag it will have and the slower it will go down the slope and the shorter the stopping distance is.)

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 1 Toy car (steel)

 1 Metre guttering pipe (half pipe)

 1 Metre ruler (X3)


 Clamp stand


  1. Make sure to take safety precautions at all times when carrying out any experiment making sure that you have checked through the area making sure that there is no danger.
  2. Set out the apparatus shown on the diagram below using correct measurements(height of the clamp from the floor is 40cm)
  3. Place the car at 0cm up the ramp and let the car go (align the car from the back of the car to the line on the pipe.)
  4. keep doing this by setting the car up the ramp every 10cm (do this and repeat it 3 times to get some accurate results)
  5. This experiment involves three major factors, gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy and friction.
  6. During the course of this investigation I will aim to find how one specific factor effects the stopping distance of a toy car down a ramp. The factors which effect stopping distance are; Tires, Brakes, Road surface, Speed of car, the Aerodynamics etc. The toy car will model a real car with frictional forces between the bench top and the wheels acting as brakes. I will choose to investigate the effect of speed because it is the most easily varied.
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        My graph tells me that the further the car up the ramp the longer the stopping distance and the shorter the car up the ramp the shorter the stopping distance.

        I can also see the graph has a positive correlation which is very strong as most of the points fit to the line of best fit.  

The equation for kinetic energy is KE = ½ mv2. This means that the car will be able to accelerate for longer, making the velocity higher and the stopping distance greater. I predict that if I increase the height of the ramp, the further the stopping distance would be. I feel that this is because the higher the ramp, the more G.P.E.

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